Traditional Chinese medicine strives to put the body in balance and prevent the cause of illnesses. Much of this is done by creating the right nutrition for you, and the time of year is an important factor. When it gets colder outside it is important to eat warming foods to maintain your health.
All foods have specific inherent qualities determined by the effect the food has on the body. Additionally, the method of preparation further enhances or neutralizes the foods. Generally speaking, warming foods raise metabolism and cooling foods lower metabolism. Balance in the diet is essential for good health. Below are some warming foods that can help you stay warm (and fit!) over the holidays.
Protein is Warming to the Body
Fish and in moderation poultry are healthy additions to your diet. Become a weekday vegetarian and a weekend carnivore. Vegetarians generally suffer fewer degenerative diseases and cancers than their carnivore cousins. It has been estimated that a third of all cancer patients developed their disease as a result of insufficient whole plant fiber in their diets. However, you don’t have to give up meat entirely to enjoy longevity – limiting your intake or eating meat only on weekends is a perfectly balanced and healthy approach.
When you do eat meat, make sure that it is organic and healthy. Conventional meat and dairy products contain high amounts of pesticides, hormones, and antibiotic drugs that are harmful to your health. And don’t forget that of the 140,000 tons of poultry condemned annually as unfit to eat, mainly due to cancer, a considerable amount is processed into animal feed! Whenever possible, buy only organic and free-range animals for your health, peace of mind, and well-being.
Spicy Diet Activates Circulation
Spices are great warming foods because they increase your circulation and metabolism. The natural reaction to eating spicy food is redness in the face, increased body temperature, and perspiration. These are signs that your blood vessels are dilated and blood flow is accelerated. Many spices, especially garlic, onions, cayenne, and turmeric, have been clinically shown to prevent blood clots and improve circulation. Other spices that are warming include cardamom, ginger, fennel, and anise. To help your blood keep you healthy, add spices to your holiday dinners, drink tea like chai with spices, and let it flow.
Fill up on Fiber to Cut Cravings
Vegetables, fresh fruit, and whole grains are full of fiber, water, and antioxidants. Fill half of your plate with greens and start your meal with a boost of phytochemicals. Fiber has a host of health benefits that range from cholesterol and blood sugar improving, to promoting regularity. It increases satiety by adding bulk to your food, but without the added calories. Because fibrous foods take longer to digest, you will get a slow release of sugar into your bloodstream, keeping you satisfied over a longer period of time. Current research suggests that filling up on fiber may gradually lead to a more suppressed appetite. So serenade those string beans and you’ll forget that pie even exists!
Remember that the way to stay healthy is to maintain a balanced diet and eat what is in season. Portion control should also be taken into consideration when you prepare meals. For more food tips and information my book, The Tao of Nutrition, is a great resource for your everyday use. Go to www.taostar.com for more information on the book.
I hope you will take these tips to heart so that your family enjoys a happy and healthy holiday season. May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao, is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He practices acupuncture, nutrition and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, a Wellness Medicine group that won the “L.A.’s Best” Award. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni founded Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica over 25 years ago. In addition, he is the cofounder and Chancellor of Yo San University in Venice/Marina del Rey. To subscribe to a free newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310-917-2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at email@example.com